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Chart.js – phew! that was close

March 19, 2013

I noticed the following earlier today from Nick Downie:

“An apology to open source

At midnight on the 18th March 2013 I posted Chart.js online. On the morning of the 19th March, I’ve had to take it down due to IP concerns with my current employer.

It had been my final year university project I had been working on for a couple of months. I had intended it to be an open source project for the web design and development community.

Since posting it online, I’ve been completely overwhelmed and hugely grateful for all the support and kind words.

Sadly though, due to concerns from my employer regarding intellectual property and similarities in projects I’ve worked on, I’ve been asked to take down the site. My job and livelihood have to be my primary concern. With this in mind, I have closed down the site, and removed my master branch from Github.

I’d like to personally apologise for taking this away, I’m just as disappointed as you.


This kind of thing is really tragic. In this case, it seems to have worked out perhaps as I notice chart.js is back on-line. I’m guessing of course, but I suspect a small employer might wisely weigh the potential for much negative publicity and be forced to quickly approve. The code may benefit from the extra visibility and attention.

This kind of thing isn’t rare unfortunately. The Vert.x project went through a similar situation  recently. The discussion in that case was worth the read to see how the Vert.x community weighed their options and came to consensus.

The quick lesson for open source developers is that intellectual property really does matter and it is worth educating yourself on the issues so you’re as prepared as you can be and avoid painful mistakes. Github by itself is not enough.

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